Man stabbed in the back on Slater Road; suspect arrested

An Everson man was arrested Friday afternoon, Dec. 5, on suspicion of stabbing a man in the back at a gas station on the outskirts of the Lummi Reservation.

Vance Anthony Martinez Jr., 21, had been arguing with the 37-year-old man for a while in the parking lot of Starvin’ Sam’s, 3310 Slater Road, said Whatcom County Sheriff’s Lt. Kevin Hester. It’s unclear what they were upset about, but deputies noted, in a press release, that the victim might have dated one of Martinez’s relatives in the past.

The dispute boiled over around 12:35 p.m. when Martinez whipped out a knife, Hester said. Moments later the other man came in through the door of the Starvin’ Sam’s saying he’d been stabbed in the back. He said the alleged stabber hopped into a green Cadillac driven by Martinez’s teenage brother, who lives near Sandy Point. The stabbed man knew the driver, 18, by name.

Minutes later, at 12:45 p.m., sheriff’s deputies spotted the green Cadillac on Slater Road, five miles to the east, by the bridge over the Nooksack River. They pulled over the car and, at gunpoint, detained Martinez, his brother and an 18-year-old woman inside. Martinez was booked into Whatcom County Jail on suspicion of assault in the first degree. His brother and the young woman weren’t arrested.

The 37-year-old man was taken to the hospital with a “deep” stab wound, Hester said. He’s expected to survive, but he’ll likely spend at least a day in the hospital.

The knife hadn’t been recovered as of Friday evening. Meanwhile, sheriff’s deputies were working on getting a warrant to search the Cadillac.

Martinez had been released from jail in late October on $25,000 bond. He’d been charged with trying to distract employees of the Meridian Haggen while a friend, Shaundeen Zollner, grabbed Smirnoff’s vodka bottles off the shelves. Prosecutors alleged when a manager tried to stop Zollner from leaving, Martinez jumped in and threw the manager to the ground. Martinez and Zollner fled in a van, according to charging papers. He was tracked down and arrested about two months later, in September, with help from a Facebook post by the Bellingham Police Department.

As of Friday he was still awaiting trial for robbery in the first degree.